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Four Interesting Facts About the Philippines

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“For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” -Leonardo Da Vinci

The Philippines has been long hailed as one of the most exotic Southeast Asian destinations of the world. This country whose pride resides upon their crystal clear blue waters, powdery white sand beaches, and majestic landscapes is not only a place with a myriad of picturesque vacation spots, but it is also known as a melting pot for a variety of cultures. The tropical climate of the country makes it a premier spot for diverse activities. In fact, outdoor activities in the Philippines could rival those of their western counterparts.

Philippine history would be easy, to sum up. You have the initial settlers in the archipelago with many various countries vying to subdue them and claim the country as a colony. And though the country has been embroiled in several colonizations in the past, its people have battled for independence, and as a result, they have learned to develop a sense of culture and tradition they can proudly and distinctly call their own. Indeed, there are a lot if interesting things that truly make this country beautifully unique. So if you are visiting the Philippines anytime soon, here are some facts you might want to know:

1.) The national flag can be used to symbolize war or peace.

The Philippine flag is a combination of four colors, namely: white, blue, red and yellow. Sewn by three ladies (Lorenza Agoncillo, Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, and Marcela de Agoncillo) in Hong Kong, it made its debut during the battle on May 28, 1898. What makes the flag unique is the fact that it can be meant to symbolize war or peace. In times of war, the flag is inverted to show the red stripe on top, and during times of peace, the blue stripe takes the upper part.

2.) Three of the largest malls are in the Philippines

Filipinos love to shop no doubt, and mall developers are only happy to cater to the local’s penchant. In fact, the country’s capital has a mall in almost every nook and cranny which Filipinos would love to spend time in during their downtime. For this reason, it would be no surprise that the Philippines hosts three of the world’s largest malls namely SM Megamall (third largest mall in the world), SM City North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia (fourth and tenth largest mall respectively)

3.) Super Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest wind ever recorded at landfall

In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc in the central part of the Philippines which killed at least six thousand people and injured a lot more. The deadly typhoon left the country devastated, but what occurred months after was a true testament to the Filipinos resilience. Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm recorded at landfall, so much so that PAGASA decided to erase the name from the typhoon naming lists. In the same vein, the ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee likewise announced that the name would be replaced with Bailu instead.

4.) Three of the largest pearls were found in the Philippines

Considering that the Philippines is rich in marine life, it would be no wonder that three of the world’s biggest pearls would be found here. The largest pearl in the world called The Pearl of Lao Tzu was discovered in Brookes Point, Palawan by a Filipino diver in the year 1934. The Palawan Princess who is considered the second largest pearl in the world was also found on Palawan island. Lastly, the Pearl of the King (which is said to be bigger than the Pearl of Lao Tzu) was discovered in the Philippine waters.

 

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Summer 2017: Top Getaway Destinations Near Manila

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“Looking at the beauty in the world, the first step of purifying the mind” -Amit Ray (Meditation: Insights and Inspirations)

As March enters 2017, so does the promise of a scorching summer to come. Gone are the cold and breezy days replaced by humid morning temperatures with equally hot nights. On the months ahead, we will be bidding our sweaters and long-sleeved tops goodbye and saying hello to cropped tops, bikinis, the distinct smell of the beach and our favorite pair of aviators. Indeed, as for March ushers in a new season, everyone will be welcoming in the happiest and sunniest season of the year, summer. This is the season most individuals would love to get away from the perpetual hustle and bustle of the city and experience the calm and quiet of the countryside or the vibrant life at the beach. Unfortunately, if you are operating on a tight schedule, it can be hard to negotiate a vacation in between your work commitments.

Not to fret, however, as there are a lot of destinations near Manila that would not even require an overnight trip. So, if you are planning for a summer excursion, there is no need to look far, here are the weekend getaways near Manila you can visit for a short and brief holiday:

1.) Minalungao National Park (Nueva Ecija)

Take a break from the usual crystal blue waters and enjoy something a little bit different such as the emerald green waters of Penaranda River in Minalungao National Park. As the summertime draws in, it is the perfect time to visit this place. Owing to the less rainfall of the season, the river is calmer and clearer making it safer for rafting, cliff jumping and even swimming. If trekking is more of your thing, the 16-meter limestone walls flanking the river are as equally inviting as the river is. If a quick trip is on your weekend itinerary, Minalungao is easily accessible with only a 3-hour ride from Manila, and it is friendly to your pockets as well.

2.) Taal Heritage Town

If you are looking for the feel and ambiance of Vigan without having to book a plane ticket or driving for seven hours, then all you would need to do is head to Batangas. The beautiful ancestral homes and gorgeous architecture of Tall Heritage Town in Batangas are reminiscent of Vigan and would take you back to a place you can only see in history books and black and white albums. It is easy to get charmed by the place’s hundred-year-old knickknacks and vintage pieces that you would not only get a well-deserved break but a trip back in time as well.

3.) Corregidor

History buff and enthusiasts would enjoy Corregidor as it is the perfect place for a slice of culture and history. This province in Cavite has diverse activities to offer, but its main attraction is definitely the rich and colorful history from World War II. But apart from that, Corregidor has pristine nature trails, its own beach, and wildlife. Lastly, it is not that far from Manila (only an hour away by boat). If you are looking for a bit of history with a little culture in solitude thrown into the mix, this place is perfect for you.

4.) Baler

Though it is not exactly what you would call near (driving to Baler would take you a few extra hours), it would all be a matter of perspective once you arrive and set foot and Baler where a myriad of activities awaits you. To surfers and trekking enthusiasts, this place is paradise, and for someone looking for the perfect synergy of nature, culture, history and adventure, this place is the ultimate escapade. If you are looking for an unlimited array of activities to do in such a short time, Baler should be your top pick.

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Top Things to do In the Philippines this Summer

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The summer heat is definitely on.

This is the season where people sweat a bit more profusely in the afternoons, dress a little too lightly or a bit less than they used to, feast on cold fizzy drinks or cold food and frequent the beach more often. It should be no surprise to you if you see your co-workers waltz into their cubicles sporting a brand new tan. It is, after all, the summer season—that one season wherein people could not help but be ambivalent whether they are thankful for the summer heat, or are seething about it. However, they would all agree that this is the best season to enjoy the best outdoor activities in the country as no other season would offer you this equal opportunity of basking in the sun and enjoying the various outdoor activities.

So if you are planning an epic summer getaway, do not book your tickets for abroad just yet and enjoy the multitude of summer events you and your family or friends can enjoy this season all within the Philippines. Get your pen and paper at the ready and be sure to include some of the most epic adventures you are about to have as we have listed down below.

1.) GO SEE SOME SITES

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Without a doubt, the Philippines is teeming with lush wild forests, tropical beaches and scenic sights—all of which you can behold from different areas of the archipelago, or even from the comforts of your own home. Do a bit of research about your local area and discover which tourist spots have newly cropped up or you have neglected to check out over the years and visit that particular place. If you have likely discovered most of the scenic sites and tried all the things there is to do in your local area, go discover some of the local tourist spots in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and translate to real life what you have seen and researched.

2.) VISIT SOME OF THE COUNTRY’S FAMOUS BEACHES

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The Philippines is very well known for being a tropical paradise filled to the brim with a multitude of white sand beaches with a plethora of marine life within them. And they are all waiting for you to discover them. Cool yourself off from the summer heat and book a trip to the nearest place with the best beaches and immerse yourself in the sights and soak your feet in saltwater and bury them in white powdery sand. Some places that offer you an array of beautiful and scenic beaches are: Boracay Island, Aklan, Palawan, El Nido, and Puerto Galera.

3.) ENGAGE IN A FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITY

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Summer is the best time of the year to engage in outdoor activities and fortunately for us, the Philippines plays host to a multitude of diverse activities. Different local destinations have their own corresponding activities: You can have a few rounds of gold in the various golf courses around the country, swim with the gentle giants known as whale sharks in Cebu, go surfing in Baler, Aurora, go trekking in Mt.Apo—the possibilities are endless and this is the best time to try some of them.

4.) GO DIVING

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Seeing as the Philippines plays host to a rich and abundant marine life, it is no question that we would be considered as Asia’s Dive Capital. Whether you are a novice or a professional or just an individual looking for a little underwater adventure, discover the country’s best diving spots that hold a prolific and expansive collection of marine creatures. Visit some of the country’s known and best dive spots such as Anilao, Puerto Galera and Boracay for an underwater experience you truly will not forget.

5.) REDISCOVER YOUR HOMETOWN AND SEE IT IN A NEW LIGHT

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More often than not, we have neglected to discover and appreciate all the natural wonders our hometowns have to offer us. This is largely attributed to the fact that we are all leading perpetually busy lives that we have forgotten or overlooked the fact that we have a superfluity of activities to do just around us. This summer season, rediscover or discover them all and give yourself a treat by immersing yourself in the local wonders of your hometown.

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Tourist Spots You Should Never Fail to Visit When In Laguna

 

 

A brand new year has just commenced and predictably, some of you may have travel itineraries for the year ahead. For those of you deciding to explore local wonders, you will be pleased to know that our country hosts an abundance of vacation spots and places to visit. The Philippines plays host to many wonderful tourist destinations which local and foreign visitors flock to regularly and if you are a local who has not yet searched every nook and cranny the Philippines has to offer then maybe this is the year you should start listing them on your travel list.

One of the most frequented local destination is Laguna, Philippines. The place is a cornucopia of tourist spots and is basically a food connoisseur’s favorite spot to gorge on local food. Just ask anyone residing near the country’s capital and you would soon find out why a lot of locals and foreigners would be found clustered in this area. Undoubtedly, Laguna Philippines is teeming with tourist attractions for adventurers and nature lovers alike.

However, for those of you who have never set foot in Laguna, you might be at a loss as to how to plot your Laguna vacation. Well, whether it may be a day trip or a weekend getaway in the Philippines, one thing is for sure, you are guaranteed to enjoy Laguna. So if you have plotted Laguna as your next area of destination, never fail to visit these various tourist spots that are definitive of the place.

RIZAL SHRINE

Any self-respecting Filipino citizen should know that their national hero’s hometown and birthplace is in Calamba, Laguna which is why a quick visit to pay homage to Jose Rizal’s shrine should be in order. The Jose Rizal Shrine is one of the tourist sites in Laguna teeming with people, and it is worthy to note that for a place that holds so much history, it has been preserved well. Visit this place when in Laguna and see for yourself the house which molded and shaped the boy that would soon become the country’s national hero.

SPLASH ISLAND

For the water babies, Splash Island is the best place for you. Located in Biñan, Laguna, Splash Island remains unchallenged when it comes to being the largest water park in the Philippines. Equipped with countless water slides, various rides for both the kids and the kids at heart, Splash Island is the perfect place to visit for an occasion with friends or with family. Visit Splash Island and everyone will be guaranteed fun and amusement and be prepared in exploring diverse slides of different sizes and angles.

MOUNT MAKILING

For nature lovers, adventurers and hiking enthusiasts alike Mount Makiling is the place to be. Named after a mystical dweller and protector, Maria Makiling, this mountain in Laguna is a legendary inactive volcano. For those of you seeking a day adventure of would just like to bask yourself in the midst of nature, this mountain is ideal for camping, trekking, bird watching and mountain biking.

NAGCARLAN UNDERGROUND CEMETERY

 

 

One of Laguna’s interesting and unique tourist spots is Nagcarlan Underground Cemetery. A definitive feature of the tourist spot is the burial site located inside or more accurately put, beneath a church. It is unique as it is the only one of its kind in the Philippines and is considered a historical landmark as its underground crypt was used as meeting place in the year 1986 by the Katipuneros or by the Filipino revolutionaries.

PAGSANJAN FALLS

 

 

Undoubtedly, Pagsanjan Falls is Laguna’s pride when it comes to famous natural attractions. For those of you visiting Laguna for the first time, this is one place you should never miss. Rent a small boat that would take you to the falls or “shoot the rapids”. From there, skilled and accredited boatmen will assist you and take you in an idyllic and scenic boat ride in Magdapio River before reaching the main falls.

NATIONAL ARTS CENTER

 

 

For aspiring artists, the National Arts Center should be one of your initial stops when in Laguna. Situated in Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna, the NAC is a hub for aspiring young artists. Incidentally, a boarding school for artistically gifted Filipino secondary school students can be found here. For those seeking tourist attractions, the NAC serves as a great vantage point in perusing Laguna de Bay, Crocodile Lake, Talim Island and the surrounding towns of Laguna.